A Single Day
Many of the activities in the single day adventure section have huge appeal for families with older children, though some of these may be subject to age, height and weight restrictions so please check before booking. There are plenty of other activities that are ideal for families of all ages.
With younger families the obvious starting point is the fabulous East Links Family Park which can fill a whole day or if you have visited before you can combine this with attractions that are close to the Park: enjoy a scenic walk with an alpaca or visit the playpark and woodlands in the John Muir Country Park. Belhaven and Tyningham beaches are close by if you have a car, at high tide the famous “Bridge to Nowhere” on Belhaven beach makes a wonderful photograph.
Many families also come to Dunbar to swim in the leisure pool and this can be combined with a walk along the clifftop trail or a visit to the harbour to look for visiting seals or at the fishing and sailing boats. To see more of the town the Treasure Trail is a fun way for families to explore its historic past, and a visit to the birthplace of John Muir is an excellent way to learn about this famous Scottish naturalist and inventor.
Day visitors should aim to include a visit to the town centre for an ice cream or fish and chips or perhaps a visit to the garden centre and a stroll to see the “Dunbear”.
Add Two or Three Days
Extending your visit by a few days is the best way for a family to try a variety of rewarding experiences and fit in a few traditional seaside activities as well.
The town has an excellent tennis club which is open to visitors as well as two stunning golf clubs which can be played by prior arrangement. All are located on the coast with magnificent views of the North Sea with views towards Fife, the Bass Rock and the Isle of May. There is also a putting course next to the tennis club which is within Winterfield Park an ideal location for kite flying on a breezy day, there are also cricket nets and football and rugby pitches here.
No trip to the coast is complete without a visit to the beach. On Belhaven or East Beach build sandcastles or paddle in the cool seawater. East Beach is perfect for rock pooling at low tide and the pebbled cove next to the leisure pool is the site of the annual European Stone Stacking championships every April – why not have a family competition, it’s not as easy as it looks.
Dunbar is fortunate to have two stunning harbours and a ruined castle – visit the renovated Battery and inspect the variety of boats. Watch the fishermen at work, look out for seals or the RNLI lifeboat when she visits. The RNLI shop at the harbour sells crabbing lines if you fancy trying your luck or get something from the snack bars and watch the world go by while listening to the sounds of the coast.
Another popular activity is to visit one of Dunbar’s many play parks, with Lauderdale Park and its excellent cafe being a great choice close to the High Street and pool. Link this with the Clifftop Trail and look for seabirds, in particular diving gannets and cormorants with wings outstretched.
If you are interested in finding out more about the countryside in and around Dunbar and East Lothian. East Lothian Countryside Rangers also run a large number of events and activities for people of all ages, from day tours and themed events to holiday activities for families and children.
On the way home, drop by the Strawberry Barn on the Thistly Cross roundabout on the A1 and visit the brilliant shop, playpark and cafe before you head back. Close by is the Belhaven Smokehouse which sells smoked fish and meats as well as a range of deli items.
Five Days to a Week
Adding more days to your trip means more time for everything! Not tried a more adventurous activity yet? This is your chance.
It is well worth bringing or hiring bikes if you are staying for more than a day or two as there are many family friendly country trails to follow. The local cycle shop both rents and repairs a range of bicycles (including E bikes). Please book ahead if possible and they will deliver to your preferred location.
In the school holidays there are lots of extra activities that kids of all ages will enjoy. Both the surf school and Foxlake run week long half-day holiday camps that are very popular and the tennis club runs camps on a limited number of weeks in the summer. The Foxlake site offers a range of activities including disc golf which is surprisingly challenging and a lot of fun.
Local children and visitors will also enjoy joining in with Muddy Buddies, an outdoor playgroup in Lochend Woods and there are a large number of clubs in the town that also welcome visitors. A new venture helping children make the most of the outdoors is Wilder Outdoor Education which runs holiday adventure camps.
There are an endless range of walks for all abilities in and around Dunbar and depending on your family interests there are many suggestions to fill a half day or two. The walk section of this website helps separate them into different themes: countryside, beach, wildlife, historical and geological.
If you have a car you can venture further afield with a visit to the visitor centres of Torness Nuclear Power Station or the Viridor Visitor Centre to find about sustainable waste management (book in advance). For the petrol heads in your family book a trip to the 4 x 4 Driving Experience or on alternate weekends watch the motorbike racing at Fenton Barns. The Museum of Flight is also close by.